Interview With Rob Gandy, Co-CEO of Cielo Property Group
By: Capstone Team - 10/31/18
In our latest interview we had the pleasure of talking with Rob Gandy. Rob Gandy serves as Co-CEO of Cielo Property Group. Rob’s time and talents are dedicated to creating, building, and enhancing investor relations, securing financing for deals, handling the operations, finances, and deal sourcing. Finance is Rob’s core background, having built and managed a commercial real estate loan portfolio as a commercial banker and prior to this having served as a VP in the Fixed Income Trading group for Sandler O’Neill and Partners. He traded municipal debt, and collateralized mortgage obligations. Texas is Rob’s home, earning his BA in Economics from University of Texas at Austin, serving on the Advisory Board for Urban Land Institute, Advisory Council for McCombs Real Estate Center, Board of Director for Hill Country Conservancy, Seton Fifty, and Dell Children’s Trust. Mr. Gandy is also a member of YPO.
1. Tell us a little about Cielo Property Group and how exactly you create exceptional real estate in the city of Austin.
At Cielo, we seek to transform people and places and positively impact our community and the people who live and work in our buildings. We know that our efforts also have a positive impact on the communities around our developments and that’s what makes our work so rewarding. We focus on creative solutions to build successful projects for the community and stakeholders.
2. As Founding Principal and Managing Partner, how do you ensure a strong company culture within your team and community?
Culture is the backbone of the company and we focus on high performance training for our entire team and we believe its that personal development that helps us achieve exceptional results.
3. We’ve seen your variety of projects at Cielo Property Group, what has been one of the most interesting you’ve had the opportunity to work on?
Our development at 220 South Congress. It is an iconic building from the 1930s and has been vacant and underutilized despite the fact that it sits at the gateway to downtown Austin.
When we believe a building or an opportunity has been mischaracterized, it makes that development very interesting to us because we often see a way to create value that others might overlook. That proved to be true for 220 South Congress, all we heard was that the building didn’t have any parking but we were able to see through that and count on the location to land such amazing tenants like YETI, Hossley and Tech Stars.
4. What area of Austin do you think has the most potential for commercial real estate development?
We focus on any areas in Austin that are highly amenitized, especially those that are walkable. Overall, we believe Austin is one of the strongest commercial real estate markets in the country.
5. What have you and your co-founder Bobby Dillard seen change in the industry since starting the company?
We’ve watched Austin experience unprecedented growth mainly because big companies follow exceptional talent and they select locations based on where they can recruit the best employees.
The biggest shift we’ve seen is the tech sector’s demand for large blocks of office space because these companies follow and cater to the talent we have in the Capital City.
6. We were blown away by you and Bobby’s amazing initiative to help the homeless here in Austin. Tell us more how you got involved with this project.
Homelessness is listed as one of downtown Austin’s top priorities and we wanted to be part of the solution to help this vulnerable group of people.
It’s been humbling and inspiring for us to see how hard some people work to help solve this pervasive problem.
7. As a UT alumnus and former student athlete, what was your favorite aspect of your time at UT?
I think back about my experience at UT and there were many great memories. Coming from the Rio Grande Valley, I feel my time on the 40 acres was pivotal because it sparked so much creativity and curiosity, which has been a big part of how I currently approach development projects.